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Thread: EM6910 endless pumping issue

  1. #1
    aik
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    EM6910 endless pumping issue

    I turn it on, try making a shot - for ~20-30 seconds I see a constant flow in the silicon pipe via the "anticavitation valve" (usually called "bypass"), then I can make approximately 3 shots, all good. The "single shot" button is used.

    And then I try making another one but this time:
    1) machine does not stop and keeps pumping
    2) it makes a new noise
    3) a solenoid valve leaks from the joints; it is the solenoid #15 from the schematics, with 3 wires. it is not a pump solenoid - just to be clear.

    7 seconds video here: https://youtu.be/bLG8a-u8GSc

    Why might this happen and what do I do now? I have a donor machine, the same model, just ~5 years older. Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Stop using it immediately. The solenoid valve body has split causing this water leak. The only solution is to replace the valve.

    The water spraying out can drip down onto the circuit board causing more damage and will eventually permeate the solenoid coil or spray onto the pins. This will trip the RCD in your house or if you don't have an RCD, the coil will probably explode. Ask me how I know......

    Genuine solenoid valves are horrifically overpriced and will probably fail again but suitable replacements can be sourced on Aliexpress.
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  3. #3
    aik
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    Things are getting even better. A tiny copper pipe coming out of thermoblock and connecting to the suspected solenoid broke. Looks bit corroded as it did not happen today (my first thought was I broke it while detaching the solenoid) but how did it work after all? :-/
    IMG_20180201_120818.jpg

  4. #4
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Bugger. You’ll need to swap the whole thermoblock over in that case.

  5. #5
    Rbn
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    Possibly fixable, BUT, probably not worth it, and far too fiddly, and the pressure in here might blow the "fix" apart.
    Fortunately a new steam thermoblock is not overly expensive, some of us have even bought them when we did not need to!!

    Now back to getting my steam pressure up to "speed".

  6. #6
    aik
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    This is just lovely. Took a thermoblock from the donor machine, look:
    IMG_20180201_161819.jpg

    Looks like someone scratched it before putting it in. But it is not all way around, just a half. So this bit is also "programmed" to die?

  7. #7
    Senior Member Xanthine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aik View Post
    Looks like someone scratched it before putting it in. But it is not all way around, just a half. So this bit is also "programmed" to die?
    It's a bit hard to tell from the photo but I reckon it should be OK.

    Just treat it gently when re-installing and use an extra spanner on the square section on the other half of the fitting so it does not twist.

    Good luck and fingers crossed!!
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  8. #8
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    There is a 6910 in the sale section that is available for parts. Maybe the thermoblock is better than yours.

  9. #9
    aik
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xanthine View Post
    It's a bit hard to tell from the photo but I reckon it should be OK.
    seems to be alright, swapped the thermoblock and solenoid (it got good shower as on video soo....). We just never really knew what was wrong with the donor machine - my colleague bought it for parts few years ago and I keep taking bits and pieces from it

  10. #10
    Senior Member Xanthine's Avatar
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    Glad to hear you got it going again - well done!

    It's always good to have a stock of spares for repairs - the left-over housing even makes a novel letter box.
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  11. #11
    aik
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    good idea about the letter box

    Now I have three 6910 machines in the office.

    One we bought ~5 years ago for the office: I replaced a bypass valve (twice), a collar and silicon gasket (and yet had to put spacers a year after that), a thermal fuse on a steamer thermoblock.
    One we bought for parts - a power relay on ECU board and one of thermal fuses were dead, probably something else (never cared to make it work really); I used the collar and thermofuse and thermoblock from it.
    One we got from a colleague who moved overseas - and this machine in its entire life made may be a hundred shots and - thermoblock broke. And collar is already worn out and needs spacers.

    What I am trying to say I am really not impressed with this model, we always have to keep one in reserve just in case.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by aik View Post
    good idea about the letter box

    Now I have three 6910 machines in the office.

    One we bought ~5 years ago for the office: I replaced a bypass valve (twice), a collar and silicon gasket (and yet had to put spacers a year after that), a thermal fuse on a steamer thermoblock.
    One we bought for parts - a power relay on ECU board and one of thermal fuses were dead, probably something else (never cared to make it work really); I used the collar and thermofuse and thermoblock from it.
    One we got from a colleague who moved overseas - and this machine in its entire life made may be a hundred shots and - thermoblock broke. And collar is already worn out and needs spacers.

    What I am trying to say I am really not impressed with this model, we always have to keep one in reserve just in case.
    G'day aik

    6910s are like all other espresso machines - lack of maintenance and / or poor technique / lack of cleaning will kill them. The only way a collar on a 6910 will wear out quickly is if coffee gets onto the seal - it then acts as grinding paste. Self evidently the previous owner should be taught about basic cleaning and maintenance. The "broken thermoblock" - 90% chance the two showerscreens were never removed and the buildup of crud meant eventually that nothing could push through it and something has to give - either the pump or the thermoblock.

    My 2008 6910 is not only alive and well, however after a nightmare start to life and a dodgy repair job it has been flawless since a proper fix in 2010 - and it is still on the original collar and seal "post disaster recovery". My 2010 6910 has been similarly flawless until I sold it to a worthy cause about a year ago. Pity my 2014 7000 has not been so bulletproof... it blows a steam thermostat every year or so. At $6 a pop it is a mere annoyance, however the 7000 quietness is linked to excess insulation which then overheats the thermostat... it should really be redesigned (and the 7100 is NOT that redesign). IMO the 7000 is the one that needs a spare machine, not the 6910.

    A bad workman can blame his tools, however failure to maintain gear properly is often the main cause of havoc.

    TampIt
    PS: I also had a "near new" two group La Pav for 15+ years without any issue (even the o-rings and seal were original). Stupidly selling it when moving overseas for 18 months I purchased another one which was about ten years younger. It needed an A to Z overhaul (about 30 parts needed replacing) before I was willing to do more than test that the basic mechanism worked.

  13. #13
    aik
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    Quote Originally Posted by TampIt View Post
    The only way a collar on a 6910 will wear out quickly is if coffee gets onto the seal - it then acts as grinding paste.
    We know that in the office and yet every single machine of the same model which my colleagues have at home has exact same issue with the collar. Metal is just pushed out, the grind does not grind it, the grouphandle pushes edges out so far so at some point it is not even possible to insert a newer group handle - this is the quality of the alloy/brass they use for collars. I tend to think they used better materials prior 2010 as the collar from the older machine seems stronger. Also, I have old Gaggia Classic at home - no problem with the collar either.

    Quote Originally Posted by TampIt View Post
    The "broken thermoblock" - 90% chance the two showerscreens were never removed and the buildup of crud meant eventually that nothing could push through it and something has to give - either the pump or the thermoblock.
    We are in 10% I clean it regularly and there is no buildup anywhere - I can verify, all the bits are on my desk, clean as a whistle

  14. #14
    aik
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    I thought I need to inspect the solenoid further to know if it is dead or alive. Took that thing apart and found this:
    IMG_20180206_134109.jpg
    It broke into pieces and I can verify it is clean as a whistle

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